The tale of one toucan’s attempts to get a wilful young gorilla to bed, Betty Goes Bananas in her Pyjamas takes the premise of Betty Goes Bananas (a huge hit in our house) and adds the extra punch of a troublesome bed-time routine. Any parent who has experienced their son or daughter wanting to do everything other than sleep will appreciate the efforts of Mr Toucan, the unflappable bird who tries his very best to convince Betty it really is time to sleep.
The artwork is superb – Betty’s expressions are so spot on. Yes, this is a gorilla, but Betty perfectly represents every toddler that’s ever lived. If you have a daughter or son like Betty, you’ll certainly relate to what you’re seeing on the page.
So this is definitely a book that both the parents and their children will love. And any book about the difficulty of getting a child to sleep, which is likely to be read at bedtime, is very gratefully received. Come on kids, see your parents’ pain and give them a break!
Also, where can I get me some banana pyjamas? They are awesome.
Published by Oxford University Press. RRP £6.99
I love a picture book but I especially love a LARGE picture book. And they don’t come much bigger than The Mystery of the Haunted Farm from the award-winning artist and author, Elys Dolan. Each page is packed with beautifully detailed scenes that are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
Take a trip to Farmer Gregg’s farm and join the Ghost-hunters, three highly qualified pigs, on their quest to find out what is spooking his farm. You will bump into zombie ducks, ghost cows as well as Donkula and Frankenhorse! However all is not as it seems and the pigs investigation leads them to the mysterious chicken coop on the hill! Are you brave enough to join them?
This is a perfect read for all ages and would be a perfect bedtime read with the lights off and the torch on. Just be careful you don’t read it on a night when the moon is full. You have been warned!
Published by Nosy Crow. RRP £10.99.
Rex has new specs and he does NOT like them! So he spends the whole day trying to hide them from everybody. There’s lots of fun in the inventive way he tries to keep the annoying eyewear concealed, and it’s all helped along by Ismail’s gloriously energetic watercolours, that show off Rex’s colourful and sometimes messy world. I particularly like his pant collection!
Published by Bloomsbury. RRP £6.99
The tagline reads: Five brave heroes. One epic quest! And that’s exactly what you get with Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long.
Join Blossom, the unicorn, Twinkle, the fairy, Herbert, the gnome, Hoffius, the faun and Trevor… the mushroom, as they go on an epic quest to find the stolen Mystical Crystals of Life. The intrepid team travel through icy mountains, burning hot deserts and cold, dark dungeons in order to save their beloved Super Happy Magic Forest.
And if this story sounds like it’s bonkers, that’s because it IS.
Matty Long has dug deep into his magical imagination to create a world where every page delights the senses and makes you wonder what craziness is going to appear on the next page. It’s a super happy wonder of a book, and has been shortlisted for the 2016 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, so HOORAY!
Published by OUP. RRP £6.99
If you go down into the woods today you are sure of a big surprise. Actually make that two BIG surprises. We are off for a walk into bear country.
Here is what you need to know:
Black bears are dangerous and black.
Brown bears are dangerous and brown.
The problem is sometimes black bears can appear a little brown and brown bears can appear a little black. If you are a little confused then you need this book.
Michelle Robinson and David Roberts have created a real gem here. It’s large and hardback, and utterly gorgeous, but then you would expect anything illustrated by David Roberts to be beautiful.
So it’s safe to say A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting will become an instant bedtime classic. In fact I am certain this will be read morning, noon and night. Just be sure to remember the valuable lessons it teaches you about black bears, or were they lessons about brown bears?
If you like this then do try Michelle Robinson’s There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes (illustrated by the awesome Jim Field.) And if you’re at all interested in what a real-life 3-yr-old thinks, have a listen to our podcast. Her thoughts are very near the end…
Published by Bloomsbury. RRP £12.99.
Kes Gray takes a quick stroll through the rhyming dictionary in order to give Frog a lesson on his proper place in the world: on a log, of course! Meanwhile, cats are sitting on mats, gophers on sofas, moles on poles and pumas on satsumas. Where else could they be?
A simple concept provides lots of scope for silly wordplay and Jim Field’s boldly coloured illustrations have never looked better. Already a bit of classic, Oi Frog! will have its readers chanting along merrily in no time.
If you liked this book, the pair have another title – Quick Quack, Quentin – coming out very soon.
Published by Hachette Children’s Group. RRP £6.99
When the weasels’ world domination machine breaks the villainous creatures scurry about looking for a fix – pages and pages of fantastic pictures later they find the problem, which is good news for them but BAD news for us.
Weasels by Elys Dolan is a book that can read and re-read just to catch the details that you missed first time around.
Whilst Jeffers might be the star name on the cover, Daywalt’s words are an equal match to the illustrations in this collection of letters from a box of crayons to their owner. Each crayon has a bone to pick with Duncan and the way his uses and abuses each of the colours in the box.
There’s a lot of dry wit in the text to match the more obviously funny pictures, with each crayon’s personality being given the chance to shine. Meanwhile there’s a subtle lesson on the colours that make up the world around us.
The Day The Crayons Quit is delightful.
I’m a big fan of books that interact with the reader. This clever picture book by Adam Lehrhaupt & Matthew Forsythe is talking to you right from the front cover, through the endpapers, and onwards with its stark warnings about what will happen if you dare turn its pages.
What happens? Monkey-filled mayhem, that’s what! The resulting chaos is beautifully realised in Forsythe’s humour-filled and gorgeously painted interiors. And that’s just the beginning. Toucans and alligators add to the mix and it’s up to the reader fix things!
Warning: Do Not Open This Book! is full of energy and fun.